Aquarium Drunkard: Sidecar/January 25, 2021
Welcome to Sidecar, Aquarium Drunkard's weekly newsletter, loaded with our stories, cultural recommendations, and news. We're supported directly by our patrons. Do you appreciate our weekly show on Sirius/XM, our podcast, The Lagniappe Sessions—where your favorite artists cover their favorite artists—and our deep dive interviews, monthly broadcast on Dublab, mixtapes, and audio/visual excursions? Support us on Patreon to help it all keep happening.
Renaldo & Clara (42 Years Later)
Last week, the Criterion Collection released its edition of 2019's Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, a semi-fictionalized mythic daydream which draws heavily from footage shot for Bob Dylan's Renaldo & Clara, which premiered January 25th, 1978—42 years ago—in its original three hour and 52 minute incarnation. Largely improvised, it didn't exactly set audiences or critics raving—Pauline Kael labeled Dylan's on-the-fly approach "a lazy, profligate way to make a movie; the technicians are forced to try to compensate for the fact that nobody has done the thinking." Maybe Bob agreed, as he allowed a shorter version to be cut before shoving the whole thing in the archives, but the original film is out there with all its drifting curiosity, if you want to judge for yourself.
Between and Beyond: Japan's Mutant Pop Underground
Over the past five years, Light in the the Attic has offered wanderlusting listeners a series of primers with reissue compilations featuring music not yet released officially outside of Japan. The label’s latest collection is called Somewhere Between: Mutant Pop, Electronic Minimalism & Shadow Sounds of Japan 1980–1988, a compilation attempting to connect the dots between various fringe figures operating outside of the country’s monolithic commercial music industry. Producers Yosuke Kitazawa and Mark “Frosty” McNeill of dublab, join us to explore it.
Gwenifer Raymond: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Gwenifer Raymond is a virtuoso guitar player, born in Wales but extraordinarily adept in the American Primitive tradition, which she learned from Stefan Grossman tab books, John Hurt records, and a guitar teacher who introduced her to John Fahey. Her latest album, Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain, is steeped in folk and blues, but imbued with a bit of Welsh folkloric strangeness, which she distinguishes from other UK traditions for its violence and its dark humor. Jennifer Kelly sat down with Raymond for a long and insightful chat, now available at AD.
Alogte Oho and his Sounds of Joy: Allema Timba
Alogte Oho—a popular singer of Frafra gospel from Ghana – and his Sounds of Joy ensemble released Mam Yinne Wa a year or so back via the Berlin-based Philophon label. It's a delightfully offbeat slice of highlife that’s been on steady repeat lately.
Gary Panter Goes Hippie with New Underground Comic
Over at Print Magazine, a great talk with cartoonist Gary Panter about his upcoming graphic novel, Crashpad, which attempts to revive the utopian visions of the counterculture for the current dark times. “Most people think the world is in ruins and that we are doomed," Panter says. "I think the Hippies, when they weren’t totally fucking up, had interesting concerns and proto-strategies for repair and revision. So at the end of my life I feel an urgency to talk about repair and the possibility of pulling out of this shitstorm alive as a species.”
Gary Lucas: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
With a new career-spanning collection in tow, guitarist Gary Lucas joins us for a discussion about his work with Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley's Grace, and teaming up with Arthur Russell and...Vin Diesel?
Hey now! What is this?? We're locked down tight as a tick here in Los Angeles, and 30 Coins has been the latest TeeVee binge. Via filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia (HBO Europe), the 8-episode series has it all: exorcisms, bank heists, cosmic and body horror, global conspiracy, a dubious priest, small town gossip, and an inciting incident involving a cow. All taking place in the beatific Spanish countryside.
Bob Frank: Within a Few Degrees
Bob Frank popped up in the early 1970s with a beautifully downbeat LP of finely rendered downer folk for Vanguard Records. And then, he dropped from view almost entirely. But a small coterie of admirers (such as legendary producer Jim Dickinson) kept the flame alive, leading to a low-key early 2000s comeback. Frank passed away recently, but his legacy has been bolstered considerably by the newly released Within a Few Degrees.
Harvard's Top Astronomer Says Our Solar System May Be Teeming With Alien Technology
In 2017, astronomers were baffled by Oumuamua, the first observed object from interstellar space. Harvard astronomer and Avi Loeb posited that the most rational, conservative explanation is that ‘Oumuamua was produced by an alien civilisation." New Statesman speaks with Loeb, who's written a new book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, about why he thinks the next such object could be spotted soon—and why he thinks there's a lot more of them out there.
Nels Cline: Transmissions
Nels Cline joins us as we kick off the new season of our weekly Transmissions podcast. The guitarist and bandleader discusses his new album, Share the Wealth, long history, early days working in record stores, and how joining Wilco changed his life.